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Combined effects of erythromycin and enrofloxacin on antioxidant enzymes and photosynthesis-related gene transcription in Chlorella vulgaris

Wang, Guixiang, Zhang, Qiong, Li, Jialiang, Chen, Xiangyan, Lang, Qiaolin, Kuang, Shaoping
Aquatic toxicology 2019 v.212 pp. 138-145
Chlorella vulgaris, algae, antioxidant activity, antioxidants, aquatic environment, chlorophyll, enrofloxacin, enzyme activity, enzymes, erythromycin, gene expression regulation, glutathione, malondialdehyde, messenger RNA, photosynthesis, reverse transcriptase polymerase chain reaction, risk, synergism, toxicity, transcription (genetics)
Multiple antibiotics are simultaneously detected in aquatic environment, so it is extremely important to study the combined effects of their mixtures. In this study, we investigated the toxic effects of erythromycin (ERY) and enrofloxacin (ENR), added individually or in combination, on Chlorella vulgaris and explored the toxic mechanisms. Results showed that the 96 h-EC50 values of ERY, ENR and ERY-ENR mixture to C. vulgaris were 85.7, 124.5 and 39.9 μg L−1 respectively, and combined toxicity assessment found that joint effect of the two antibiotics was synergism, which was proven by the chlorophyll content in algae. Antioxidant defense system and photosynthesis were involved in toxic mechanisms and the results revealed that both the activities of antioxidant enzymes, and the malondialdehyde (MDA) and glutathione (GSH) contents increased in antibiotic treatments. In addition, the increase was more significant in joint exposure treatment, which implied that the antioxidant defense system was synergistically affected. RT-PCR showed that ERY and ENR upregulated the transcript abundance of psaB, psbC and chlB at low concentrations and the transcription abundance was synergistically increased in combined treatment. Therefore, the risk of the toxicity of antibiotics to aquatic organisms in real environment both at organismal and molecular level increases as a result of their combined presence.